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The Best and Worst Ways to Remove Wallpaper

You’re ready for any exciting, new look for your home. But, before you refresh your wallpaper and interior space, you’ll need to properly prepare your walls by removing any existing wallpaper. It’s important to spend time ensuring the wall you’re working with is flat and even, without chips, holes, and old pieces of wallpaper. If you begin working with a wall that isn’t in a good condition, you’ll get air bubbles and end up with an uneven finish. 

Ready to begin preparing your wall for a new look? There are wallpaper removal methods that are effective and ones that will simply damage your wall. So, let’s take a look at some of the most effective and common ways to remove wallpaper and some methods you should definitely avoid. 

Effective Ways to Remove Wallpaper

To begin with, we’re going to look at the best ways to strip wallpaper. There are two main ways to remove wallpaper, these include using a stripping solution or using an electric steam stripper to get the job done. Both of these methods are safe for your wall and are effective at removing wallpaper, depending on the area you’re working with. The key to successfully removing wallpaper is using the right methods and having a little bit of patience. 

Removing wallpaper with a steam stripper 

A steam stripper uses a water tank which is fitted to a steam plate. Hot steam comes out of the steam plate because water in the tank is heated. This is then held against the wall to loosen wallpaper. To begin removing the wallpaper with the steamer, you’ll need to hold the steamer to the wall until the paper appears damp. This means that the steam has penetrated the paper and should be easily removed. If you’re still struggling to budge it, you can hold the steamer against the wall again, at short intervals.

Electric steam strippers have many benefits. They are the best option for large areas of wallpaper and are recommended to remove stubborn wallpaper, including woodchip. Since the steam helps with the removal process, using a stripper is probably the easier option. You can quickly cover a large, tough area with this option. Steam strippers range from £30 for domestic use to £400 for industrial use. If you’re using it in the home, you’ll only need one for domestic use. Plus, once you invest in a steam stripper, you’ll have it for life which makes it a great investment. 

If you’re looking to buy an electric steam stripper, consider looking at the following hardware stores: 

Removing wallpaper with stripping solution 

A stripping solution is a liquid that can be applied to your walls to aid the wallpaper removal process. They help to dissolve the adhesive on the wallpaper, releasing it from the wall. Ideally, all you’ll then have to do is gently pull the wallpaper from the wall. These types of solutions are great for one or two layers of wallpaper or if you’re removing the wallpaper on a small feature wall. 

You’ll see many recipes online for DIY stripping solutions. There’s a chance that these DIY solutions will be effective, however, we recommend you purchase premade solutions. This saves time and they are inexpensive to buy ready made. Also, ready made solutions are thoroughly tested, so there’s no worry of damaging your walls.

Which wallpaper removal method is best for my walls?

The answer to this question depends entirely on the state of your wall and the wallpaper. You can decide which method is best by taking a deeper look at your wallpaper. Before deciding which method of removal to use, carry out the following two steps:

  1. Take a stripping knife and remove a section of the wallpaper at the corner (you only need to remove a small amount). This will help you see how many layers of paper you’re working with. If you spot multiple layers, it’s probably time to find yourself an electric steamer as it will be more difficult to strip. 
  1. Now you have an entry point, try removing a section of the wallpaper by pulling it from the wall. Does it come off in one piece and relatively easily? If it does, a stripping solution is probably suitable. If not, you might need to consider a steamer.

Cleaning the wall after wallpaper removal

After you have removed your wall, whether you’ve used a solution or steam stripper, you’ll be left with residue and small pieces of wallpaper left on your wall. To remove anything left on the wall, simply have a bucket of warm water on hand (with some sugar soap if you have some) and use a damp cloth to gently wipe the area down. If there’s any stubborn areas, you might need to use the stripping solution again and work on the area for a little bit longer. 

Once you’re satisfied that the area is clean enough to add fresh wallpaper, you can use a dry cloth to get rid of any excess water and completely dry the area. It’s probably also best to let it dry overnight on its own. If parts of your wall need repairing you’ll need to repair those areas first, otherwise you’re ready to add wallpaper! 

Worst Ways to Remove Wallpaper 

So, we’ve had a look at the best and most effective ways of removing wallpaper, let’s now take a look at some of the worst ways to remove wallpaper. These methods of wallpaper removal are not only ineffective, but they will also cause you a few problems in the long run. This means you’ll likely have to spend more money too and we definitely don’t want that!

Painting or papering over wallpaper

So, you’ve found the wallpaper of your dreams and you want to put it up straight away. Adding to or painting over existing wallpaper might seem like a good option. Of course, lining paper can be used underneath the finishing paper to ensure a smooth finish, and you can find out more about putting up lining paper here. Papering over finishing wallpaper is, however, an ineffective option and can actually cause more trouble than it first seems. 

Firstly, existing wallpaper may already be damaged. In this case, it’s not a good idea to mask the problem with brand new wallpaper. Secondly, if your old wallpaper has a really busy, bold, or dark pattern, the pattern might come through to the new wallpaper. For these reasons, we always recommend that you completely remove old wallpaper before cracking on with your revamp. Some more negative effects of papering over existing wallpapering includes: 

  • An uneven finish with creases and bubbles 
  • Wallpaper that is harder to remove in the future 
  • Depending on the material, new wallpaper might not adhere to old wallpaper.

Applying too much pressure or using the wrong tools 

There might be areas of your wallpaper that are quite hard to remove. This is quite a common issue, especially if wallpaper is old and has been up for a long time. This is because the adhesive becomes rock solid. 

The wrong thing to do in this situation is bust out the heavy duty tools. We’ve seen plenty of disasters when it comes to removing wallpaper off and if you start hacking your wall with something sharp or heavy, you’ll likely do more harm than good. You might chip your wall or do some serious damage to pipework or electrics. The best advice we could give when stripping walls is to be firm but do it with care. Like we said earlier, if you’re really struggling to strip your paper, it’s probably time to invest in a steamer rather than battle with your wall. 

Ready to Prepare Your Walls For an Exciting Revamp?

We hope you have found this post on stripping wallpaper useful. It can be quite a dull and time consuming task but remember, after this part is done, it’s time to get started on the exciting part…the room of your dreams. From art deco wallpaper to contemporary wallpaper,  just think of all the wonderful styles you could choose from. If you have any questions about our stock or the products you need for preparing your wall for new wallpaper, feel free to contact us. We would love to hear from you!